KNOCKHILL JUNE 12/13 RACE WEEKEND PREVIEW: CATERHAM SEVEN 270R CHAMPIONSHIP
As you’d expect from the Caterham Motorsport ranks, the racing from the opening rounds was anything but dull and it was especially action packed in the Caterham Seven 270R Championship at Donington Park. Now the series moves up to Scotland where Knockhill in Fife awaits the drivers with its picturesque setting and unique ribbon of twisting turns and elevation changes. It promises to be two days of amazing racing on track with several key names looking to throw their hats into the ring to become champion.
The Seven 270R is firmly established as the ‘coming-of-age’ championship for those progressing out of the Caterham Academy, through the Roadsport championship and now into their third year of Caterham racing. Unlike the lower categories, there is no restriction on professional team support or driver experience. The Seven 270R race cars have typically made their way up from the Academy ‘19 (or slightly earlier). They have now developed into race-focused machines, with stiffer suspension and removal of the windscreen and lights (though they can be quickly refitted for road use) giving them a very similar look to their Seven 310R big brother.
One man who knows that he has his best chance of claiming a title is local hero Blair McConachie, who will relish the chance to compete at his home circuit this weekend. He knows that with Tom Wyllys, his main rival from the past two seasons, only running as a guest driver and therefore not eligible for championship points, he will be keen to set the benchmark and maintain his early points lead. He picked up a 3rd place and then a victory with fastest lap to put him three points in the lead, but even at this stage anything can happen and the order can change at the drop of a hat.
The closest challenger right now is Harry Eyre, who thrust himself straight back into the leading group at Donington after he showed great promise in 2020. Taking a 2nd and a 3rd has helped him get back into the groove quickly and his confidence will certainly be high as he looks to chase his first 270R victory. Another driver who has adapted very quickly to life in the Caterham paddock is Rob Keogh, who is an impressive 3rd after only his first weekend. A former title contender in Ginetta racing before taking a year off, Rob’s new challenge is certainly working in his favour and he would love to try and go a step or two higher on the podium at this early stage.
Will Rossetti was the other driver to win on that opening Donington Park weekend, but only managing 7th place the next day means he has some work to do to climb from 5th in points. Will is someone who has always been a perennial front running driver ever since he started in the Academy and he began as he meant to go on in the opening rounds. If can get back to the same momentum that carries him to victory, he’ll stand to do well this weekend. Carl Jones is another who had a bit of a solid opening weekend, as he collected a 4th and 6th places to grab the final top 5 spot leaving Donington. Carl is another driver that is a proven race winner and podium contender, but whether or not Knockhill’s hilly and twisting nature will play into his hands will be something he’ll be keen to find out.
Others making up the second half of the top 10 will be desperate to make gains on the points they managed to bank first time out. Fraser Jones heads up the second quintet after a best finish of 6th, just one point ahead of Dimitris Melas courtesy of a pair of 8th places for his troubles. Wes Payne is a driver who will certainly have felt he could have done better than a P6 finish himself as he will want to return to his 2020 form that even saw him score strong results towards the end of last year. Tim Steel and Chris Efremidis round off the top 10, both of which will be keen to climb a few more places up the pack after ended up towards the fringes of the top 10 finishers in both Donington races.